Against obsolete solutions

We would like to explain that we are not against progress, but have economic and environmentally sustainable solutions to address traffic congestion in Kingston.

Kingston Transportation planning uses “population and employment growth” as a leading factor for determining traffic “volume demand”. It is the primary rationale for recommending the construction of new roads or bridges and widening or extending existing roads. This reasoning purports that when the population increases, traffic demand increases, thus requiring roads and bridges to be built or widened. This approach is no longer valid and outdated.

City officials defend the construction of the Third Crossing and widening of a long list of roads based on this approach. The current Transportation Plan calls for a roadway infrastructure that is calculated to cost taxpayers $500,000,000.00 over the next 20 years.

By constructing new roads, lanes or bridges, the City ignores the “induced demand or latent demand” phenomenon.This concept is based on the fact that the capacity of additional roads stimulates corresponding increases in traffic demand. In other words: if you build it, drivers will come. The City’s current approach will neither be a medium nor long term solution.

There are many examples of the ‘induced concept’. From the 1970s through the early ‘90s, it was used in the UK to analyse the government’s road construction policy. As a result, SACTRA (Standing Advisory Committee on Trunk Road Assessment) was appointed to review the impacts of increasing road capacity, which confirmed that this resulted in a substantial increase in traffic volume.

The purpose of modern and progressive transportation planning is to persuade people to change their behaviour and to use fewer cars by making transit more efficient, to increase bus frequency to compete with private cars, to offer free bus rides until people choose public transit as the main mode of travel, and to complete active transportation networks.

Providing free bus transportation for students in Kingston has proven to be highly successful, substantially increasing ridership and decreasing car usage. Less car trips diminish the need of road widening and bridge building.

Over a span of two years, City staff compared two seven-month periods, the first with Grades 9-11, the second with Grades 9-12. By including Grade 12 students, the comparison showed that trips went from 137,578 to 299,924, an increase of 118%. Monitoring showed that 50% of the trips related to school travel, and the remaining 50% were non-school related. Approximately 15% of the latter occurred on the weekends. (source – Whig May 2/16).

Another remarkable example occurred on Saturday, August 20, 2016. The City provided free bus transit for the Tragically Hip event. Thousands of people took advantage of the service. There was no major traffic congestion or gridlock even though about 25,000 people descended on downtown from across the region.

 

We are not against progress, we are against obsolete solutions.